TEARS and emotions filled the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Suva yesterday after family and friends of Susan Parkinson paid their last respects to a woman who continuously promoted healthy diets for everyone.
Mrs Parkinson's granddaughter Farah Parkinson said her granny was her inspiration.
"I just want to remind you, even though it feels like light years away, what an inspiration you have been to me over the past 21 years. I have grown into a woman that I am as a result of your careful guidance," Farah lamented.
In her written eulogy, she clearly defined her grandmother's protection to keep her grandchildren out of trouble and sickness.
"Thanks to you, I know the importance of spinach in avoiding anaemia and (that) you're never too young to have your voice heard.
"I can't remember exactly how old I was when I wrote my first letter to the editor at The Fiji Times but one of my most treasured memories is spending hours with you crafting it in your study," she added.
She said her grandmother taught her that no matter how old or young a person, there was never a good enough reason to lose the sense of humour.
"If one day I can be an inspiration to half as many people as you are, I'll know I've done alright."
Mrs Parkinson's grandson Shavez Parkinson said her grandmother was always there to support, comfort, advise and inspire him and his sister.
"These ranged from dropping us off at various activities, cooking us amazing meals such as her famous maranges and always reminding us to eat our greens. Admittedly, I'm still working on that last one," Shavez said.
He said it was important to experience as much of the world as possible, and to learn as much from experiences of people we met.
Importantly, he said as we travelled, lived and loved, "we must always leave behind memories of the same warmth and kindness that his gran spread among all those her life touched".
"This philosophy and, complete disregard for any type of social or geographical boundaries did not just define gran's life but has and will continue to define the lives of our entire family.
"We love you gran and we will miss you. 'I am, I can, I ought and I will' is her motto in life."
Only son William Parkinson said her mother was asked if this could describe her approach to life and she replied with a smile that perhaps it did.
"I am - acknowledges that we are first a child of God for Susan. She saw her faith was very important for her but she was never attracted to the ceremony and a trapping of worship for her Christianity was a way of life. She often said her father was the greatest Christian she had ever met and he had rarely set foot in a church," Mr Parkinson said.
He said she loved the fellowship and support of her church St Andrews particularly as the congregation comes from all over the Pacific.
"I can - nowadays we would define this as positive thinking. For Susan, it meant that from an early age, she realised and was encouraged to build a career and a life outside of the rather narrow options that confronted women and in particular, country women in the 1940s."
Mrs Parkinson was recruited by the fledgling South Pacific Health Service to work in a regional role based in Suva, arriving in 1950 at the age of 30, she was the first nutritionist in the region.
"I ought - this refers to duty and in Susan, her strong sense of duty to her friends and to society drove much in her life. A good example of this was when she enrolled in a first year creative writing course at USP aged 70 and why she took great offence at anyone who suggested she shouldn't be driving!
"I will - many of you here today will have experienced Susan's steely determination! Once she set her mind on something, it happened. Get in her way and she had the ability to express her disappointment with just a glance, it rarely failed."
Mr Parkinson said his mother's legacy would live on through her works and the inspiration she provided to many people.
Mrs Parkinson who was a well-known South Pacific nutritionist and a pioneer of women's rights in Suva passed away on Sunday after a short illness.
After the funeral service, Mrs Parkinson was cremated at the crematorium at Davuilevu.